Expressions: 'in negative two minutes' and '5 minutes away'


What does the following expression mean?

Aren’t you suppose to leave in negative two minutes?

Can I understand it as the person is already two minutes late?

Also, can I say, “I am 5 minutes away” for “I am 5 minutes early”?

Thank you in advance,

Yes, I would interpret that to mean “Weren’t you supposed to leave two minutes ago?”

Without any other context, I would understand “I am five minutes away” to mean “I will arrive in five minutes”. Or it may more generally mean that five minutes would be the amount of time required for the speaker to reach the listener’s location.

I would not use it to mean “I am five minutes early”.

Oh thanks, Amy. Crystal clear.

Oh, how interesting these expressions are, Nina!

Just to hold a candle to the Sun, may I give some more thoughts on them?

  1. Is ‘Aren’t you suppose to leave in two negative minutes?’ as good as or better than the original one?
  2. How about: '‘Aren’t you suppose to leave in minus two minutes?’
  1. Other than motional context, could it also be static such as: I am five minites drive/walk away from Nina’s. ?

Thank you!


Thank you very much, Amy!


It is rather unsual, isn’t it?(can I say “is it not?” here?)
I heard it on the TV series “Smallville”. I thought it was cool and wanted to make sure I understand it correctly. Thanks!


They are rather interesting, aren’t they? Thank you for the thoughts. I guess you can say “negative/minus” first. But it is already an unsual expression, so making it more unsual is a little extreme, don’t you think?(kidding!)

BTW, I am not so much “5 minutes away” from you any longer.

Take care and have a nice Sunday!


Hi Nina,

Nice to see you again! Yes, they are interesting and cute! :slight_smile: Your "Smallville’’ reminds me that these modern expressions may have already obtained their citizenship among young people or young movies/TV dramas. I don’t hate it! :smiley: And to make it more common is your duty! (I’m kidding too)

Oh, actually you might be 50 hours (drive) away from mine. :slight_smile: I love Kyushu’s southland ambiance and food. I have been to Kagoshima once. Cherry Island was wonderful. Fukuoka is much bigger, right?


Hi Haihao,

Yes, I don’t hate them either :slight_smile: . Some of the scripts are very touching and full of advices too. There are always something that we can learn from younger people.

And Haihao, I am no longer in Kyushu. Yes, Fukuoka is definitely the biggest city in Kyushu. I miss Fukuoka, all my friends are over there.I even refer to Fukuoka as my “sato”, Japanese laugh everytime I say this, well, it is true :lol:
And I saw POTC 3(not 4,sorry for the misinformation), love it! POTC rocks! And Johnny Depp is hot as usual. I love him so much I can understand him eventhough he was slurring his words all the time, he was still intelligible to me. I even quoted him for my signature down there :smiley:
But I barely understood some of the characters, especially Calypso (one of the characters, just watch out for her if you’re going to watch the movie, I think you’ll understand what I mean) at all. I am planning to read its book so I can understand what the fuss is all about.
BTW, I am in mountainy Matsumoto, surrounded by the mountains, mountains everywhere I look and probably only 3 hours away from you. But I go down to Tokyo almost every two weeks, to hang out with my best friend. Next week is her turn to come up and see me :smiley:


Hi Nina,

Your comment woke me up completely. :slight_smile:

You can try to say ‘Fukuoka is my Niizato and Matsumoto my Niiniizato’ (be sure not to leave the latter out). Then the Japanese hearers would give you a respectful ‘Naruhodo!’ for your good humor instead of laughing, I guess. :slight_smile:

I have been to Nagano including Matsumoto many times. In fact, I am going to Karuizawa on Thursday and back on Saturday this week. Enjoy your mountain life in Nagano!

Talk to you later.